Leicester’s live music in July
Our round-up of gigs
and musical happenings
in Leicester and Leicestershire
for the month of July 2016.
MIL’s team of reporters and photographers have been busy, getting out there to bring you their sample of what they have heard and seen this month.
But we need more! Write for us. Go to gigs, see bands and tell us about it.
Latest dates get added from the top.
Britain’s got Reggae
An event was held in Leicester at the Highfield Rangers football club, between 12 noon and 7 p.m. The event was promoted by City Link-up Promotions and Cecil Reuben events. This was the finals of the series called Britain’s Got Reggae festival.
Following the event Cyrlene Braithwaite said (on Facebook)
“Well what can I say.. what a day yesterday I can honestly say and I ain’t gonna lie. Everything that could have went wrong did. A serious accident on the M1 caused things to be behind that had a knock on affect on the event in terms of artists, musicians & judges being delayed on their journey and affecting the timings on the day and things being delayed. NEVERTHELESS The day turned out to be a great success. Firstly the SUN SHONE DOWN ON US and from the start I had NO DOUBT IT WOULD! Seeing all the beautiful faces, children enjoying themselves and generally being a really trouble free pleasant day that everyone seemed to enjoy. I want to thank EVERYONE that was involved that helped to make the day a great success the all the judges, artists, musicians, bands, stall holders, stage men, sound men, black lives matter volunteers from Nottingham, the videographers, photographers, BGR team, and all the beautiful people that travelled from near and far and supported the event. Big thank you to Highfield Rangers for giving us the go ahead to use such a fantastic venue to hold this event Thank you for the support and all the hoop jumping that had to be done to accommodate us.W
MIL has previously covered events organised by City Link-up in Leicester
Broken Witt Rebels
for Casbah Music Management’s first anniversary show.
The show marked the first anniversary of music promoters Casbah Music Management.
at O2, Leicester.
Aztec Temples were on stage tonight at the Leicester O2 Academy with Greg Poole supporting Bill Ryder-Jones.
See photos by Kevin Gaughan from the acts appearing at this show.
|Bill Ryder-Jones at the O2 Academy, Leicester, 29/07/16|
Kevin Gaughan was there to take photos and these can be seen on his Facebook page. (You will have to be logged into a FB account to see them)
What You Sayin’
at The Shed.
Each month Poetman holds a spoken word night called What You Sayin’
Poets, rappers and comedians come to the mic to present their work. It is always work of a high standard and very entertaining. I read my latest poem, The Masquerade.
These events are well attended and offer a wide variety of material.
Upstairs there was a acoustic evening that offered singers who were no less entertaining. The first act on the main stage as Oscar Wright.
He sang a selection of songs, accompanying himself on the guitar. An artist with considerable charm, he came across as a song writer of impressive ability when performing is own compositions. Various others on stage that night are note worthy: Steve Young and Nile McGreggor to name but two. Young’s set of ‘country music with an acoustic pop/folk twist, was very enjoyable. He was from London.
A very pleasant evening out.
23rd and 24th July
Our team was at the Simon Says festival
Albany in Leicester
Albany was the headline band tonight
The band is based in Lincoln
Their genre is Britpop, Indie and Rock and Roll
The members are Matt Duke – Vocals/Guitar, Chris Fletcher – Bass, Daniel McLagan – Guitar and Dan Sharratt – Drums
Albany was founded in April 2006 in Coventry. They say in their Facebook page that ‘Albany are an up and coming britpop band from the UK. Their only goal is to bring back the raw sounds so defined the British music industry. Appealing to everyone, Albany are set on course to becoming one of the biggest bands of the 21st century.’
Our photographer Pascal saw them and he said they were very good.
at the Cookie
with Faux Pas and The Vim Dicta
Straight from Enderby to the Cookie. As I walk in through the smoking area I notice the sign above the main door.
I greet the members of Aztec Temples and their entourage. Then it’s time to see Faux Pas. The band from York is here in Leicester for the first time and the lead singer tells the audience what a wonderful city it is compared to their hometown. We are all impressed. The band commented on its Facebook page: ‘Its fair to say the 250 mile round trip has certainly been worthwhile, getting to play in the beautiful city of Leicester.’ Such nice boys.
The first thing to notice about the four members of this band is that they all look very young. Reuben Cowl asks the audience to welcome the band’s new drummer; “he is only 16” says the singer, making us wonder how hold he is.
The indie-playing band has been together since December 2014, only a few months less than Aztec Temples. Fiesty music delivered with plenty of energy and strong vocals kept the audience firmly enthralled. Many people commented to me how promising this band is and in two years time could be really big.
I did see some of The Vim Dicta. On the band’s Facebook page it says their genre is ‘PsychoGroove’, a musical concoction they have been mixing since they started in January 2011. Hailing from Los Angeles the trio of musicians presented an interesting set.
The story of the band has a familiar ring to it:
It all started with two friends in a garage, two guitars, some microphones and an 8-track recorder. The Vim Dicta formed in late 2011 amidst LA’s re-energized underground music scene and have worked hard writing and gigging to keep honing their sound and attract music fans looking for something unique and powerful.
The Vim Dicta has secured an impressive array of accolades from the media. Quite a few people were down in the basement, capitvated by the remarkably original sounds coming from the stage. A colleague of mine saw them recently and commented that they were “top drawer.”
Writing for Metal Assault, Andrew Bansal summed it all up rather nicely:
Even for a person like me who attends shows and sees new bands on a nightly basis, the city of Los Angeles has always had the ability to spring a surprise, to unleash a gem of a talent hidden somewhere within it. Last night at the Satellite Bar in Silver Lake was one such occasion. The band I went to see is a Sliver Lake-based heavy psychedelic power trio called The Vim Dicta. To be honest, I knew very little about them but upon watching some of their YouTube clips yesterday morning I found their music interesting and worthwhile enough to go check out in the live setting. But there was still no sense of positive expectation, at all. So there I was at the Satellite, looking forward to discover what this band had in store for me.
Thank you Andrew; that puts into eloquent words much of what I would have said. If you are ever in Leicester, see me and I’ll buy you a beer for that.
The time came to see the headline band, Leicester’s Aztec Temples. I might start by mentioning the new single released recently by the band; details of ‘Places‘ are given on our page of record reviews.
I have been an enthusiastic supporter of this band since they started. Why? Simple. I love their music. The songs they write are full of deliciously easy to remember melodies and tunes that stick in your mind. Writing music like that takes considerable ability.
This band now has a growing fan base and frequently perform in venues outside of Leicester. Earlier today the band was on Radio Leicester. I am told that people there “loved the track.” Hardly surprising; ‘places‘ is a thumpingly good pop song.
It is always good to see a local band getting somewhere. Where they were once limited to playing support slots now they can headline at gigs.
Tonight’s show was organised by JM Music Promotions and Management.
Here is a picture of its founder James Morris
Expedition to Enderby
Time to get out of the city centre for once.
with The Rogues and The Decomposers.
The problem with trying to cover two gigs in one night is that you miss the headline band at one and you miss the support bands at the other. At The Shed tonight were March of Fate, Destinova and The Blacklist – all of which I did not get to see. I did however arrive in time to see The Rogues. They were good. A really enjoyable set of music. They came from Silsby, a market town on the southern Edge of the Lincolnshire wolds and birthplace of John Franklin, the sea-captain who died during an expedition to the Canadian Arctic, while attempting to chart the Northwest Passage. I am sure you are all anxious to know that!
Four guys playing contemporary indie music: Alex Martin (Lead Vocals and lead guitar), Sam Dawson (Bass and backing vocals, Ryan Frankish (Drums) and James Clark (Synth and backing guitar.) They say their influences includes The Libertines, Queens Of The Stone Age, Courteeners, Arctic Monkeys, Pete Doherty, Royal Blood and a few more for good measure. So, you can image what they sounded like – pretty damn good.
The other band I saw at The Shed tonight was called The Decomposers. Of the four musicians on stage, three were singing. Always a good sign. They gave us a set of strongly impressive songs that were bulging with beats and cartloads of commitment. Alt-rockers from Lincoln they are Matt Belton, Louis Belton, Mike Tierney, Ryan Donohue. To sum up: they were good.
with Arc Isla, Caro and Alligatr.
Three good bands took to the stage tonight at The Soundhouse. Three bands is, in my view, a nice lineup; not too many and not too few; just right for a night. Opening up the programme tonight was Arc Isla. We saw this Nottingham band before; on 26th February they were at the O2 in Leicester supporting Aztec Temple’s début gig there.
What I said then would be equally applicable
The show was launched by Arc Isla, an indie band that started with a song that reminded me of Midnight Wire’s early tunes. Catchy, listenable and full of verve, this band set the night off to a flying start.
and I added
With their two singers the tunes danced off the stage and set many feet tapping and heads nodding. Enjoyable and pleasing sounds driven by intoxicating beats are what you would expect from this group of musos from Notts and Leics. In fact, these guys are recognisable from other bands that have played in this area; Edd Saffell, one of the guitarists, we have seen before in a band that bears his name.
What is clear from tonight’s performance is that these are four young men on a mission; plying loads of enthusiasm and commitment into their music, they gave us a set of songs saturated with delectable melodies and rhythms that were more than enough to launch a night of top-notch music.
Richly resonant beats bounced from the stage and it was one of those sets that took off from the word go. So, why do I like this band? Simple. they play music that makes me feel good and, judging from the reaction of the audience, I was not the only one.
Arc Isla’s songs have that immediately likeable passion that draws people into their music. It’s the kind of music that makes you want to get up and dance and had I been 20 years younger I would have done.
The three guys from Leeds, Caro gave us songs that were decidedly modern. Modern as in Radiohead and Bombay Bicycle Club.
What struck me about their work is that it sounded original, to my ears at least. Generally quite inventive and unusual sounds were laced with scintillating guitar passages. Let’s hope Caro make it back to Leicester some time soon; I am sure there are plenty of other people who would like to hear what they have to play.
Tonight’s show was headlined by Leicester band Alligatr. MIL has reviewed them before. Back in May the band was on stage at the Glastonbudget festival
In April we say them at The Musician, when we said
The stage was set for another great performance by Leicester band Alligatr. This quartet of local artists is led by singers Jonathan Doughty and Jack Birtwistle. A band with an attractive and very listenable and varied set of songs that has strong musical qualities, finely tuned and cunningly crafted. They deliver their songs with firm commitment; a group with no shortage of talent
Before that, In February, they found a place at the semi-finals of ‘Somesortofshowcase.’ Dig back even further and we find them playing with Midcity at The Cookie, in January 2015.
Staying at the Soundhouse would have been nice but I gave in to the lure of The Shed. I knew there would be some good bands to see there, so I hopped on my skateboard and arrived there a few minutes later.
Recently updated and with some new tracks, our page Listening Post points you in the direction to Leicester’s new music.
Clean Cut Kid
12th July 2016
Magic Teapot presents Weaves
by Keith Jobey
What’s going on in Canada? Canadian bands are making some of the best new music around, and are regularly crossing the pond and tour the UK. Tonight, Magic Teapot promotions have brought Toronto band Weaves to the city.
Hula Girls were last sighted in Leicester supporting The Wytches at the Cookie’s Handmade warm-up gig, where I speculated as to why they haven’t got a cult following. Watching them again tonight I realised perhaps they already have one, it’s just not very big in Leicester as yet, and I’m part of it. Now a three-piece with the addition of an extra guitarist to add fills and back up the surround racket, they rattle through a set of short, sharp, catchy songs. Check them out on Soundcloud and then come and join the cult following.
Next, the ghostly apparition of Courtney Askey, ready to drive a stake into the heart of anyone willing to let her. The morphing of Courtney Askey from solo artist to band took another landmark step with the addition of guitarist Tiffany to the line-up. It wasn’t quite the full new line up since Andy is recovering at present and Ash Mammal’s Jeeves stood in on bass for the night, but it was a good indication of what to expect. Rumour has it they’re playing London soon, it could be another landmark step for them.
“Come to Weaves” Ian of Magic Teapot told me, “they’re bendy!” So I had a listen to them and figured out what he actually meant by bendy. A variety of styles and genres spread across songs. Their debut album is just out and this tour is in support of that, and as usual with this type of touring band, the musicianship is fantastic. They reminded me a little like Alabama Shakes at times, but a little harder, a little grungier, less bluesy. It wasn’t a large crowd, but somehow seemed busy, but next time they’re here, you can bet it will be busier.
9th July 2016
by Keith Jobey
The Clash once sung ‘The band went in, and knocked them dead, in 2 minutes 59’. Well today, Kevin Hewick came in, and knocked us dead, in 2 hours 33.
A long set then, but by no means his personal best (that’s 4 hours 41 minutes). There were 24 songs in that time, ranging from his early days to songs that will feature on his next album. That’s quite a set, but to get a full appreciation of Kevin Hewick it’s the type of set you need as a minimum. And as is the norm for a Kevin Hewick gig it wasn’t all about the music as he regaled us between songs with numerous tales about his dreams, Jeremy Corbyn, Angela Eagle, mellotrons, religion, Ian Curtis, Factory records, Spotify, his new album… the list goes on.
The Criterion has had a refurbishment lately, don’t worry it was nothing drastic. One notable change though is the screening off of the bar in the front room area when there is a gig on. This is great as it stops the chatter and clatter at the bar, while bringing an intimacy to the area, making the whole experience so much better as we supped our beers, listening to a master at work. Kevin later posted on social media ‘a very attentive, responsive, listening audience, it genuinely meant a lot to me’. Well Kevin, it meant a lot to us too, thank you.
You can next catch Kevin at Simon Says Festival, where he has a solo set on Saturday and is part of the Lets Play Bowie act on Sunday. He hopes that new album will be available then, not on Spotify though!
The annual festival of local music took place on Western Park today.
Bands, singers and groups were there on several stages to provide a fine experience of live music at this free event.
with Poetman, The Whiskey Rebellion and Gentlemen of Few
Any appearance by Poetman is always good. He can get into a muddle with his visual aids, that is tue, but even this is funny. In some ways he is like a poetic version of Dave Gorman with his reflections on modern life.
On stage there were four members of The Whiskey Rebellion with an accordion, a violin and guitar and two good vocalists.
What they did was to give us some delicious gypsy rock that were lively and full of resonance. Some would want to compare them with The Brandy Thieves in their musical style. My conclusion: Superb. Very Enjoyable.
All the way from Kent, we were privileged to enjoy a set from Gentlemen of Few. From the Dover and Deal area of the south-east we saw a keyboard player, guitarist, banjo player, bassist and a trumpet player hidden at the back.
At the front was a bass drum and cymbals being operated by the feet of the guitarist. All four of them had microphones. Musically completely delightful with their set of own songs. The band has recently released an EP and tonight they sang some of the songs from it. Well harmonised voices and a strong sense of rhythm, their songs danced off the stage full of vibrancy and pizzazz.
A set that sustained our pleasure right from the start through to the finish. It was a privilege to have them in our humble city; their playing was skillful, well orchestrated and cleverly written. That all added up to music that was of immediate appeal and a group playing music of considerable ability. On stage, they certainly looked like they were enjoying it. Magic.
Songs by the band can be found on iTunes and Soundcloud.
Killing time at Firebug
Times To Kill is a progressive/post-hardcore band from Leicester. Tonight they were on stage at Firebug with Archaea and Mad factor.
The lead singer of Times To Kill was James Jearum here seen along side bassist Tom Jearum. Tonight’s free gig drew quite a few people out for a line-up of bands all of which were good. Times To Kill say, on the band’s Facebook page, that its influences include: Deftones, Fightstar, Exit Ten, Nobuo Uematsu, The Used, Rammstein, Karnivool, Linkin Park. So, you can see where they are coming from.
Their was full of passion and energy. Engaging music that was worth leaving the house for. Must see them again.
If you want to check the band’s music, they have some tracks up on Soundcloud.
Cabin Boys Storm Ship
with Arkiva, On Hollow Ground and Cabin Boy Jumped Ship upstairs
and Brandon Neal and Budgie Smugglers downstairs
at The Shed
Sometimes, a gig is just another gig. Tonight, was something else. A big night at The Shed. From the moment I walked in you could sense the difference, a scent of excitement in the air. You could tell straight away this was going to be an exceptional night.
Upstairs on the main stage, a band from Lincoln opened the show. They had played in Leicester three times before. What made them stand out was their lead singer Kyle Durham. He was one of those lead singers who radiated personality and presence. Arkiva gave us a great set of songs, pounding hugely good beats into the room. A suitably good start to the evening.
Downstairs, it was a pleasure to see Brandon Neal again. I saw him at The Shed a few days ago and was pleased to see him back again with his attractive set of songs. A performer who makes you sit up and listen; as I said last time his music is “engaging and appealing.”
It was a pretty good turnout tonight; the place was full of people having a good time. People were there with their friends, enjoying the social occasion and you felt you were somewhere were it was happening.
Technical difficulties at the start of the set by On Hollow Ground did not stop these guys from giving us a super set. With three spectacularly well-synchronised guitarists, they put on a show that was as exciting to watch as it was to listen to. They gave the room a real buz, driven by the seismic performance by their lead singer. Oh yes, and I loved the way the three guitarists stood as they played, their legs splayed out, looking very determined. Epic.
Downstairs one of my favourite rock and roll bands were playing their way through a list of iconic covers from the 60s through to the 00s and more. Budgie Smugglers is a human juke box.
They even had a list of songs that members of the audience could request them to play. I remember seeing ‘God Save The Queen’ by the Sex Pistols on it. This is a band that gives you the right to party. It was a tribal occasion. A fantastic string of top-notch songs.
The night came to a climax when Cabin Boy Jumped Ship took to the stage. This Nottingham band delivered a set that was mind-blowing. It was colossal. Incendiary. The fans went crazy and there was much crowd-surfing – not something you see a lot of these days, compared to eight years ago when it was common place at Shed gigs. This electro-hardcore metal band created a stir on Facebook when they announced the launch of their new video and song Illusions on YouTube.
They told us that the band ‘infuse metal inspired hardcore riffs and hefty breakdowns with a subtle djent influence then mix it all up with a dose of filthy dubstep, euphoric trance and brutal screamed vocals.’ Well, you have to check that out! This was such an amazing experience. It shows what going to a big night of rock music is all about.
We saw them at The Soundhouse in 2014, so you might want to read what we said about them then
Tonight’s show was put on by Dreaming In Colour Productions.
1st July 2016
Mountaintop Junkshop at Firebug & Chambers at Duffy’s
by Keith Jobey
Are your Ex Comets too spacey? Are your Death Rattles too loud? Do you crave for a bit of country? Well get yourself along to see Mountaintop Junkshop and treat yourself to a slice of ‘Leicestacana.’ There’s no reason you can’t like all three bands of course.
Similarities run through them, a rich vein of song writing that they mine and decide to use in whichever band it suits. Tunes, lyrics and band members fitting in where required. Tonight’s performance even featured pop-up poet Adrian Manning, who provides a reading of one of his poems towards the end of the title track of latest EP, Roman Candles and Red Lights.
Next it was off around the corner to Duffy’s, where Wake Up Promotions regular free entry Friday night gig was underway.
Headliners Chambers were who we went to check up on. I last saw them play live in December last year. It’s been a busy time since then for the bluesy rock trio as they’ve been recording an album. Their set was a mixture of their own songs plus a few covers and I reckon they’re sounding good. I’ll be off to see them again. And that album, it’s due out this month.